If your main concern whenever fighting the temptation to have a Coca-Cola is just the high level of sugar and the acid that will damage your stomach, think again. It seems there’s one dark secret about this beverage that will surely give you nightmares. Coca-Cola’s caramel color is said to cause cancer.
Have you ever wondered what exactly makes Coca Cola look like liquid dark caramel? Well, don’t imagine it’s just an innocent mix of ingredients that results in that particular color. In fact, the ingredient at blame for the color is called compound 4 methylimidazole, also known as 4 – MI or 4 – MEI. As of 2011, California issued a list of known carcinogens, and 4 methylimidazole was among them.
If you’re trying to figure out why has the Coca Cola color get in the spotlight only now, a year later than the introduction of 4 methylimidazole on the list of known carcinogens, you need to know that the Center of Science in the Public Interest has found samples of the compound in Coke and Pepsi.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has requested the Food and Drug Administration to probe Coca Cola after several tests came positive with traces of 4 methylimidazole in Coke and Pepsi. CSPI has urged the FDA that regulators need to ban the use of the carcinogenic compound arguing that such “colorings have no place in the food supply, especially considering that their only function is a cosmetic one”.
An FDA spokesman, Douglas Karas, informed that the FDA is currently looking at CSPI’s request. However, his statement did include the adding that “a consumer would have to consume well over a thousand cans of soda a day to reach the doses administered in the studies that have shown links to cancer in rodents”.
Obviously the American Beverage Association has a different take on things. The association issued the following statement: “This is nothing more than CSPI scare tactics, and their claims are outrageous. The science simply does not show that 4 – MEI foods or beverages is a threat to human health”.
Meanwhile, Coca Cola seems to be on the consumers’ side. Spokeswoman Diana Garza Ciarlante said that caramel suppliers for Coca Cola have been asked to “make the necessary manufacturing process modifications to meet the requirement of the State of California”.